The proof of a nation’s moral existence lies in the quality and quantity of relief, which its leadership, its affluent sections and its masses provide to the next of kin of those martyrs who sacrificed their lives for a cause. The movement can be kept alive only when those at its helm take full care of the dependents of martyrs. I am reminded of an incident. A widow of a martyr was in tears and said that she had not a bowl of rice to make her children a meal. Leaders of the movement for freedom of Kashmir came to offer her condolences on the fourth day of the death of her martyred husband. They presented her a copy of the holy Qur’an and a profusion of pieces of advice to be patient with her destiny. No one from among the visiting leaders or their organizations asked her how she, with orphaned kids around her, was eking out her miserable existence.
This incident became the catalyst for me to write this piece. I just want to ask our leaders and our nation, and particularly those who assert that Kashmiris do not hesitate to make the sacrifice of their lives, what is the actual condition of the dependents, especially the womenfolk of our martyrs? This woman’s father, husband, brother and daughter all are martyrs. She is a destitute. I would ask all my detractors to stop castigating me for unveiling the facts and do some introspection. I hope none of my readers has lost his conscience, and that they will come forward voluntarily to help such critical cases.
The main reason for any movement to succeed in past or in future is the presence of a powerful political platform. This platform should have institutions of its own to tackle the issues that arise in the course of the movement’s march onwards. These institutions are the key to the success of the movement. We do not mean to hold any particular organization or leader or individual responsible for what our movement lacks. We only want to shed some light on the depressing condition of the kith and kin, widows, orphans, mothers and sisters of the martyrs. A few details that have come to our notice are stated below. This information has come to us through the kith and kin of the martyrs whom we provide modest succour at MANWA. We shall also say something about how those people are treated who bade farewell to the gun and took the path of non violence and peace. We need not mention the organizations with which these martyrs were associated. Their names speak for their organizations.
1. Ghulam Jeelani was martyred in Bemina. His four sisters and his father live in a miserable condition. The responsibility of marrying two sisters of Jeelani fell on the shoulders of his aged father and one of them was married in 2004. How the old man managed it is difficult to explain.
2. Muhammad Salim Sheikh of Astan Mohalla was martyred in Natipora. He was the only son of his mother who is now almost begging for her survival.
3. Bashir Ahmad Mir alias B2 son of Abdul Ghani of Ahan Ganderbal was martyred in 1996. His brother too was gunned down by security forces. For some reasons his third brother too was killed by unknown gunmen. His family comprising three widows and 20 children is looked after by his aged father and one brother. They are just dragging their lives.
4. Muhammad Ayyub Khan alias Amir Khan Son of Nasrullah Khan of Kond Gandbal was martyred in 1995. He is survived by his widow and five daughters. They either beg or do some manual labour to earn their two square meals.
5. Abdul Rashid Rishi alias Pasha of Nasal was martyred in 1997. His widow and four orphaned kids living separately are destitute.
6. Muhammad Maqbul Wagay was martyred in 1996. His widow and five orphaned children are living a miserable life.
7. Ghulam Hasan Khan hailed from Sonabrad in Islamabd. He was martyred on April 18, 2007. He is survived by three children, three brothers, his widow and aged father. His widow remarried entrusting the orphans to their grandfather. The misfortune dogged the family. Security forces killed all the three brothers, Aejaz Khan, Mukhtar Khan and Muhammad Abbas Khan. Ghulam Hasan Khan was associated with KLF, Ajaz with HM and Mukhtar Ahmad with Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen. The fourth brother Muhammad Abbas was killed for the sins of his brothers. Security forces demanded of him to surrender the arms of his deceased brothers. The house was blown up by security forces. Somebody gave the orphans the address of MANWA which has undertaken to provide expenses on the education of one girl child. (In this case I am obliged to name the organization to which these martyrs were affiliated).
8. Muhammad Ashraf Lone alias Tawsif son of late Salam Lone of Khandurah was martyred in 1992. His widowed mother sold her house to marry her grown up daughter. She has one more daughter of marriageable age. How she to manage her life is what we cannot imagine.
9. Muhammad Yusuf alias Basharat of Rawalpora was martyred in 1992. He is survived by three orphan children and a handicapped widow who does menial jobs to feed the kids.
10. Ghulam Muhammad alias Maqsud, son of Ghaffar Dar of Rawalpora was martyred in 1992. His widow is eking out a miserable living along with her three orphan children in her father’s house.
11. Muhammad Siddiq of Mirpora had been a senior commander of an organization. His six orphan children and widow are struggling for life. His house was also razed to ground. The organization to which her late husband was affiliated had promised to provide her succour but nobody even cast a glance at them till date.
12. Muhammd Ramazan Wani alias Musayyib of Anzpora, Beru the battalion commander of an organization was martyred in an inter-group shootout. He is survived by his widow and four orphaned daughters all of marriageable age. His widow sold the paddy machine in order to feed her children.
13.Rahul Sheikh alias Fla of Biruwah was martyred in 1995. He is survived by his widow, two orphan children and an aged mother. The humanitarian sense of the people of the village remains dead, and nobody has come forward to offer her some help
14.Bashir Ahmad alias Basharat of Wanigam Biruwah, Budgam, left behind six orphans and a widow who sold her shop to feed the family.
15.Nasirul Islam was the Amir of two organizations. He hailed from Budgam. His family is in such a depressed condition that it is neither alive nor dead.
16.Shamsul Haqq had done Molavi Fazil and double MA. He hailed from Sonurkali Pora in Biruwah. Twelve members of his family were martyred leaving behind 13 widows and children. They are living a miserable life.
17.Maqbul ilahi had done M.Sc and is wife is graduate. Our nation is insensitive to the extent that the son of this martyr is working as a semi-skilled labourer.
18.Anwar Islam was a Deputy Commander. He is survived by his widow and an orphan child passing days in penury.
19.Jameel Muhammd Bhat and Hamid Bhat were associated with two different organizations. They left behind their widowed mother and two sisters. The mother has been given pacemaker and the father suffered heart attack on hearing the news of his second son’s death. One of his sisters got married but she was divorced by her wicked husband within days. The husband of the second daughter has also been killed. The aged mother is carrying the burden of her daughters and their children.
20.Muhammd Yusuf alias Idris was martyred in an inter-group clash in Dargah while trying to protect the leader of his organization. He is survived by his widow and two orphan daughters, both now grown up. A trust has offered to take care of educational expenses for the two daughters. The widow has been taught stitching so as to help her stand on her legs. The widow of Shahid Idris Khan was turned out of her home by her in-laws along with her children soon after her husband’s martyrdom.
21.Muhammd Ashraf Dar belonged to Sonwarakali Pora. He was among the founders of an organization. His widow and four orphaned children are in a state of penury cursing the organization which brought disaster to the family.
22.Zahid Khan son of Abdur Rahman Khan of Mandir Bagh was martyred in 1990. He was the only son of his parents.
23.Rajeh, Mil and Pren three brothers of Fateh Kadal were martyred in 1993. Their mother and brother became mentally deranged. One bother feeds the entire family, and with great difficulty.
24.Muhammad Yusuf Waza left behind him a widow and three small children. The in-laws of the widow provided no succour to her. She remarried after some time and the family of the martyr suffers.
25.Fayaz Ahmad Sheikh son of Ghulam Hassan Sheikh was martyred in 2002. His house was burnt. He is survived by aged parents, widow, four orphaned children and two unmarried sisters. One of the girls was married under great financial constraints. The tragedy did not end at that. This girl’s husband was also martyred by security forces and this widowed girl is to be re-married. The family is under great financial stress.
26.Gulzar Ahmad Wani of Batmaloo left behind him his widow and two daughters and a crippled brother. His widow works as kitchen maid to sustain her children. Her in-laws turned her out of their house soon after the martyrdom of Gulzar Ahmad.
27.Ghulam Ahmad Bhat’s brother was a militant. In place of his brother, Ghulam Ahmad was martyred by the security forces. His wife and two children were turned out of their house by her in-laws leaving the family of the martyr in destitution.
28.Farooq Ahmad Mir was martyred in 2001 leaving behind his widow and two children. Nobody cared for them. They come from Kaner in Budgam and the widow is getting some small amount by way of support from Social Welfare. A welfare organization is bearing the expenses on the education of the two children. Life is extremely harsh for them.
29.Ghulam Hasan Thakur belonged to Kunzar, Chadura. He was martyred by his militant fraternity leaving behind four children. The widow and the children were turned out by in-laws for their house. She is working as house maid in people’s homes. It is so sad to know that three orphaned sons of the martyr were taken back by their grandfather through a court order but he left his granddaughter to the care of the martyr’s widow. She is now living with her parents.
This is the story of just a few out of 70 or 80 thousand martyrs. Although I have cited only 29 case but the truth is that 80 to 90 per cent of the families of martyrs are facing same situation. Society hesitates to have matrimonial alliance with the daughters or widows or sisters of these martyrs. The anti-people government harasses their kith and kin. They feel that they are neither with the militant groups nor with non-militant sections of society.
Young people who have given up the path of violence are humiliated by security agencies, army, and police by ordering them to report their attendance at one or the other police station or a camp. In camps they are made to do some chores.
Finding a bride for the released militants is a problem for them. They are not an earning hand. If any among them has a source of subsistence, he is required to report to the police station regularly. Thus they gradually lose this source of small income. On assuming power, PDP chief minister, Mufti Saeed made tall promises of rehabilitation of released youth. Alas, as usual, these were hollow promises. Youth already released can be called to the police station by any agency or police authority in the name of militancy. They are allowed to come out only after they or their relatives grease the palms of concerned authorities. Released youth are threatened and intimidated to become informers and if any of them refuses, he is put behind bars. With this policy is in force, can peace prevail…
These martyrs and their relatives have some questions for the leadership of this nation.
1. When our martyrs took up arms, the entire nation euphorically adored them. They were invited to feasts as very special guests: they were sought after for matrimonial alliance. But today their dependents beg for a morsel. Matrimonial alliance with them is considered almost a sin. Why is it so?
2. Why have those organizations and leaders with whom the martyrs were associated become impassive? These leaders spend millions of rupees on public rallies only to enhance their fame.
3. If the nation and all organizations cannot come together to support and sustain our (martyrs’) families, then what is the use of raising hollow slogans and dragging more youth to the brink of annihilation?
4. There are NGOs and organizations which have opened their shops in the name of our martyrs without providing an iota of succour to their families. Undoubtedly, one day the dependents of martyrs will call them to account.
5. A big question is raised about the insensitivity and brazenness of our society. Those who threw out the widows and orphans of the martyr from their homes are answerable to God for their treachery. Our religion emphatically tells us to care for the orphans. Those who sacrificed their precious lives did not do so for their person or family. They made sacrifices because the leaders of this land or their supporters in Pakistan or the people at the helm of affairs told them that sacrificing their lives meant either accession to Pakistan or obtaining freedom for Jammu and Kashmir. Do they intend to convey a new message to the dependents of these martyrs that in the eyes of leaders and the nation those objectives are dead? Should we, therefore, tell these dependents of martyrs that after witnessing their destitution, the sacrifice mad by the martyrs was a crime and they (dependents) have to pay a price for it? How aptly the poet says:
“Main kis ke hath par apna lahu talash karun
Sarey shahar ne pahne hue hain dastane”
(On whose hands should I look for the stains of my blood?
Entire city has worn hand gloves)